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Parma handed points deduction, striker banned

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Aberdeen 1-1 St Johnstone

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Aberdeen once again failed to take advantage of a Celtic slip-up, as they could only draw with St Johnstone following the Hoops' draw with Hamilton last night.

Welsh international Simon Church opened the scoring with a close-range finish 10 minutes before the interval, but the home side failed to turn possession into goals, and were punished when Saints substitute Liam Craig won, and then converted, a late penalty.

Despite the absence of top scorer Adam Rooney, who may be out for six weeks with a calf injury, and key creative influences in right-back Shay Logan and winger Johnny Hayes, Aberdeen were swiftly on the attack, with Kenny McLean forcing Alan Mannus into a save within the first minute.

But Saints hadn't travelled north to make up the numbers, and Dons goalkeeper Scott Brown had to be quick off his line to block after Graham Cummins knocked the ball into his path.

Midway through the first half, Cummins himself found space in the penalty area to head a right-wing cross goalwards, but his effort was off target when he really should have done better.

However the home side had just about edged things, and opened the scoring 10 minutes before the interval.

Simon Lappin knocked a teasing Ryan Jack cross away from the lurking Shinnie, giving Aberdeen a corner from which Niall McGinn's delivery was headed goalwards by Ash Taylor. Mannus saved, but couldn't hold the effort, and Church was on hand to side-foot home from all of a yard.

Both sides were lucky to keep 11 men on the park after Dons captain Jack and St Johnstone winger Danny Swanson got involved in a melee, both benefiting from referee Steven McLean's decision to flash only yellow cards.

The visitors introduced Craig for Scott Brown at the interval, but despite flashes of attacking prowess, it continued to be the home side who looked the more likely to find the net.

Indeed, both Taylor and Mark Reynolds were left scratching their heads as they both contrived to miss a teasing delivery from a McLean free-kick just after the interval.

And Church was denied a second goal just after the hour, Mannus diving low to his right to block a close-range effort from the on-loan MK Dons striker.

But Aberdeen were punished for their failure to extend their lead. Craig teased a needless challenge from Jack inside the area, and it was no surprise when the referee pointed to the spot.

Craig himself stepped up to take, and calmly rolled the ball low to the goalkeeper's right, as Brown went the other way, earning his side a share of the spoils.

ends

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